Funeral Expenses for Celso Toj

We are looking into after death expenses for my dad and would appreciate any donations. All funds will go towards his release.

Anything leftover will be put towards rent as we are a couple of months behind and I am out of work.

Thank you, thank you.

What follows is a small attempt at an obituary:

My dad was a lot of things but I think the biggest was tormented. Throughout his life, he dealt with rechazo, abuse, depression, and alcoholism. During the last years of his life, the depression only got worse and his physical health also took a toll. He had diabetes and, often left untreated due to lack of access to healthcare, he developed heart issues.  Ultimately, his arteries became too clogged and he passed away in the back of a vehicle.

As I said, my dad had many demons and growing up, my mother, sister, and I saw and experienced things we shouldn't have. What he needed was help, healing, therapy but the closest savior from the unrelenting trauma was alcohol. At the beginning of this year, my mother made the tough but very necessary decision to have him leave our home. He needed help we couldn't give and he wouldn't seek. With the help of a close friend of mine, he was able to find somewhere to stay and work on a path towards rehabilitation. However, around the same time that COVID-19 took hold, the church he was staying at had to move the members and he got lost in the mix thus becoming homeless. Throughout everything, my mother would check-in on him and bring him food which continued well after the moment he was displaced. After a few days of staying in the streets or around our apartment building, my mom and our housemate found him a room and paid for his first month's rent. Again, my mom would take him meals and give him rides until eventually, he found a job in construction with a man that promised him work for a year. He was a smart person and he ended up leading the team of workers during the project. Unfortunately, he was later destabilized again and lost housing leading him back to the habit of drinking. He spent these last few days looking for somewhere he could stay and on the night of his passing, a friend had let him sleep in the back of his mom's car where he was found unconscious late Saturday.

My dad was creative, smart, loved to cook and invent new things, played romanticas, oldies, and disco all throughout my childhood, liked to draw, taught me how to rollerskate, taught my sister how to ride a bike, loved dogs, and loved having his picture taken.

He also was imprisoned twice, deported back to Guatemala twice, and undocumented which made it difficult to maintain a stable job or see an avenue for healing. 

When he was good, he was really good.
Present, caring, nervous about his inventos..

But when he was low, he'd stay there for a long time. Hurting and hurting us. 

I had a complicated relationship with my father. My first word was papá and he never let me forget it. While it feels like the father I grew up with left a long time ago, his soul departed on October 3, the back of a vehicle, feeling unwanted--just the way he entered this world and that's something that will hang heavy for a long, long time.

Apezar de todo, I wish I would have told him I still cared.

Thank you so much and if you would like to honor his life, here is a playlist of just some of the songs he loved and played for us.


Blessings always.


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Diana Jasmin Toj-Ortiz 
Los Angeles, CA
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